News Releases

No Jeopardy for State Taxpayers Who Participate in the IRS''s Offshore Voluntary Compliance Initiative

March 27, 2003

BATON ROUGE – Revenue Secretary Cynthia Bridges says Louisiana taxpayers participating in the Internal Revenue Service’s Voluntary Compliance Initiative for Offshore Tax Shelters are encouraged to amend their state income tax returns and pay all tax, penalties, and interest by October 15, 2003 in order to avoid state prosecution. The IRS program targets taxpayers that used offshore payment cards or other offshore financial arrangements to underreport their income and tax liability. The IRS is offering these people the chance to surrender information and avoid federal civil fraud penalties and criminal prosecution by correcting their tax returns and providing information. Taxpayers have until April 15, 2003, to request to participate in the IRS' Offshore Voluntary Compliance Initiative as detailed in IRS Revenue Procedure 2003-11. Taxpayers must file federal returns reporting their correct tax amounts and pay any tax, interest, and penalties owed. They must also disclose all aspects of their offshore financial arrangements. “Louisiana will grant special consideration to taxpayers who participate in the IRS program and make amends with the state,” Bridges says. “This is an opportunity for taxpayers to avoid penalties and prosecution and begin with a clean slate. We want to assure taxpayers that if they cooperate with the IRS during their participation in the offshore initiative, the state will not pursue civil fraud penalties or criminal prosecution,” Bridges adds. “However, in order to receive this treatment, taxpayers taking part in the federal program must correct their Louisiana tax filings and pay the additional tax, penalties, and interest by October 15, 2003. Interested parties wishing to notify the Department of their clients’ willingness to participate in this voluntary disclosure program, or wishing to correct under-reported income tax liabilities and make payments, should contact the following: Louisiana Department of Revenue Voluntary Disclosure Unit Field Audit Services Division P.O. Box 4936 Baton Rouge, LA 70821 Telephone: 225-219-2442 ###

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